Fort King Road

In the 1800’s, communication, supply delivery and trade between the Indian Agencies, Seminole and U.S. Army forts proved to be challenging due to the lack of a clear path or road. In many cases forests, difficult or impassible terrain and waterways separated out-lying coastal areas with areas located in the state’s interior.

In 1825, Congress authorized the construction of a road that would begin in Tampa Bay and continue into South Georgia through central Florida and present-day Ocala. The result of this construction was the Fort King Road, also known as the “Military Road.”

The construction of the Fort King Road was a logistical and tactical necessity that would decrease the amount of time it took to communicate with Washington D.C. from months to days, and would aid the U.S. Army in moving supplies and people through the region. Because it was the only major road running through the interior of the state, it was used heavily by troops moving from one area to the next and was a necessity for the provision of supplies and resources to support the troops stationed at forts throughout the state. The Seminole also used the road to track military movements and “hunt” soldiers or settlers moving through their region.

The road was rough at best. It was sixteen feet wide with trees cut to ground level, leaving the stumps. Low-lying areas that were subject to flooding were “bridged” by lying logs down across the road like planks. In other areas, heaps of grass were piled up and covered with dirt to make raised causeways. Passage along the Fort King Road would not have been easy, especially with wagons transporting supplies.

The Fort King Road was a significant part of the battlefield landscape in Florida during the Second Seminole War in particular. There were several major battles along the road, the most significant being the Dade Massacre.

Today portions of the Fort King Road are covered by US 301. One portion can still be traveled here at Fort King.

The Fort King road was a logistical and tactical necessity.

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